Winter is once again upon us. Not only have the temperatures outside begun to drop, but many businesses are rightfully concerned about rising energy bills. This is one of the reasons why solar power has become an extremely popular choice. Some businesses have even decided to invest in solar-powered security lights. But one question, we get asked a lot at SEPCO is if solar-powered security lights work in winter?
The Basics of Solar Lighting
Firstly, let us talk about the basic principles behind solar power (also known as photovoltaics). This technology uses the rays of the sun to store energy. This energy is then converted into electrical power that can be sent to various types of fixtures (such as security lighting around a commercial property).
Do Solar Powered Security Lights Work in Winter Conditions Associated with Less Ambient Light?
A certain amount of solar energy is capable of penetrating even the thickest cloud layers. Your solar panels will still be able to take advantage of this light; even if it is not nearly as much when compared to a warm summer's day. Modern security lighting solutions will then store this energy within a battery for later use. When accumulated over time (such as throughout the day), the fixtures can provide lighting during the overnight hours.
Will Cold Temperatures Impact Solar Power Lighting Batteries?
Batteries have been designed to perform at optimal levels within a specific range of temperatures. Unfortunately, colder conditions can have an impact on how much power they can store as well as how long they can provide a viable source of light.
Many solar fixtures employ highly efficient lithium-ion batteries. When temperatures drop below freezing, their efficiency will also drop.
A SEPCO solar lighting system uses GEL cell batteries, which aren’t as affected by the cold as their lithium counterparts. Sticking with this technology has allowed the solar lighting systems to last even through some of the toughest winters.
So, be sure to take this into account when planning how many hours of lighting your business requires. This is also why they must be exposed to the maximum number of solar rays.
The Position of the Sun in the Sky
Colder temperatures are caused by solar rays striking the earth at an oblique angle. When the northern hemisphere tilts away from the sun during the autumn and winter months, it results in colder conditions. Coincidentally, this can also affect the performance of your lights. So, what does this mean? Do solar-powered security lights work in winter when the sun hangs low on the horizon?
The answer is a resounding "yes" if they are placed correctly. We need to remember that the sun will be in a different position when compared to the summer months. Therefore, you might need to place your lights in slightly different locations (or to tilt their angles) to avoid shadows. The good news is that many modern LED solar security lights are portable. So, modifying where they are placed is generally a simple affair.
What About Winter Storage Concerns?
At SEPCO, our security lights are built into the ground and therefore don’t need to be stored. Our team designs each system based on the power that the commercial-grade security lights consume and the available sun that the geographical location of installation provides.
The systems have enough storage to handle the winter months as they are sized with winter sun hours and appropriate battery backup. In southern climates this is around 5 days backup; however, in northern climates, this is adjusted to 7-10 days to handle battery depth of discharge changes. In some cases, this can be increased even further depending on project specifics.
Smart and Efficient Security Solutions
Do solar powered security lights work in winter conditions? We can now clearly see that they will provide you with lighting if used properly. They also provide additional benefits including:
A flexible security solution.
An off-grid source of reliable power.
You can lower the carbon footprint of your commercial property.
Your business will enjoy a higher return on investment (ROI) over time.
Why not get in touch with us at SEPCO for your solar powered security lights today? You can also check out our solar security lighting projects to see what other installations have been completed. All our lights are made in Florida and have a warranty of 25 years and are 5 years maintenance-free. Our team will be happy to chat with you about any concerns or questions you have.
Author Bio: John Keohane is the owner of JK Services, an electrical contractor who specializes in Solar Panel and EV Charger installations.